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Trumpet Discussion Discuss What may this white spot on my bottom lip be? in the General forums; I had band camp this week, Monday-Friday from 12p-9p. Earlier this week I noticed a painless white spot or section ...
  1. #1
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    Jul 2010

    What may this white spot on my bottom lip be?

    I had band camp this week, Monday-Friday from 12p-9p. Earlier this week I noticed a painless white spot or section on my bottom lip. Yesterday the spot seemed to swell after 1.5 hours of playing. I had a little rest yesterday for about an hour and it went down, but had no choice but to play after that (there was another hour break later, for dinner). After practice I iced it, but it is still white.

    I am one of 8 brass players, and one of three trumpets; there are at least twice as many woodwinds. Quite a few sections in our music are forte or fortissimo, and one is fff. I dislike playing above forte because of the many problems that can come with that. I have no chance to ease up on volume because the directors have said several times that they can hardly hear the trumpets/trombones/tuba on the field at times. The highest note I repeatedly is a high A-flat, which I can do well if I take a good breath breath beforehand. There is a high C at the end of the show and in another song, but I don't play that any louder than mf.

    I like to rest as much as I play, but the directors have either never heard of that, or don't care (I do realize that this is valuable practice time for the band). Not even our temporary drill instructor, -who plays some brass instrument in another band and occasionally conducts practice in place of our band's actual director- gives us much rest; all wind players are either in or out. Two- to five-minute water breaks are nothing. Fortunately, my lips were never too tired to play, but I don't like to play so loudly, regardless.

    I've not yet practiced today, but there's no pain, although it's still white. Even if it's nothing, how can I better project my sound? One more thing: I have noticed that my lips became very dry twice this week, but that may be due to the combination of this long week and that I often lick my lips before playing.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2009

    Re: What may this white spot on my bottom lip be?

    A quick google search led me to the possibility of them being fordyce spots.

    If it looks like that, then I'm probably correct, and it is nothing to worry about, they are common, natural, and probably unrelated to trumpet playing. But do not take my word for it, wait for other responses and go to a doctor if you can.

    As for projecting your sound, try to imagine your sound going to the far corners of the area, and when they get there still being at a good volume, it might help psychologically.
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  3. #3
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    Jan 2009

    Re: What may this white spot on my bottom lip be?

    My twin brother had white spots develop inside his lip about thirty-five years ago, back when he was a cigarette smoker and used "smokeless" tobacco products like Skoal. His doctor said they were probably harmless but since he used tobacco there was a slight chance they could be pre-cancerous lesions. They disappeared quickly on their own but the upside was he became a non-smoker and non-"smokelesser" too.

    We're both sixty years old now so you can draw your own conclusions.

    Unless you smoke tobacco or are crazy enough to use "smokeless" tobacco products they're probably nothing to worry about. If you do use tobacco products have a doctor take a look. Or even if you don't use tobacco but you're simply concerned, have a doctor take a look for your own piece of mind.

  4. #4
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: What may this white spot on my bottom lip be?

    Never hurts to have your doctor look at it.

    During those water breaks, and as often as possible, make sure you actually drink water. Even w/o playing in the hot sun, a lot of water necessary to keep you hydrated and playing the trumpet demands good hydration, You cannot drink too much water when playing in hot weather.

    Just because the director wants loud doesn't mean he can tell you aren't playing as loud as you can. You are the best judge. Think projection and "core" and do your best, but don't overdo it just because he says he can't hear it. During actual performances you can pull out the stops and let fly.
    Nothing is more contagious or tenacious than music. Once you are exposed it gets inside you and you can never get rid of it. It is also non-discriminating. It can be Ride of the Valkyries, In a Gadda da Vida, the Jeopardy 15 second thinking tune, your most disliked commercial jingle - it doesn't matter. Once triggered, off you go, like it or not.

  5. #5
    Pianissimo User Rich Wetzel's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Tacoma, WA

    Re: What may this white spot on my bottom lip be?

    If you are really not sure, never hurts to have a doctor take a look at it, for peace of mind if nothing else.

    I knew a guy who had the silver plating worn off of an old mouthpiece, got some kind of reaction to the raw brass and sounded a little similar, whatever it is, I would have a doctor check it out just to be sure.
    Rich Wetzel
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  6. #6
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: What may this white spot on my bottom lip be?

    Resting as often as you play is a concept for individual practice - not ensembles. I do not consider it to be a necessity except for when real chop killers (like range exercises) are being played.

    Projection is not something that we increase with a trick. It is the result of better listening (through experience), stronger chops (through more intelligent practice) and bigger/better breathing. Superior playing is ALWAYS a combination of those 3 things. Most trumpeters learn it by simply playing more with better players. It then becomes a matter of EMULATION.

    The white spot can be just about anything from a pigment deficit to a blister. A list of possibilities would only serve cyberchondria. As we can't see it, you need to let someone local look at it.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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